#PowerWomen: I Always Believe that ‘Content is Queen’, Says Payal Shah Karwa
by Mugdha Gaonkar Industry Watch | March 5, 2021 | Interview
Payal Shah Karwa The Word Jockey Content Studio EVENTFAQS Media PowerWomen
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to a virtual forum on International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Payal Shah Karwa, Content Director, The Word Jockey Content Studio, about her journey in the event industry.
After a corporate stint in Marketing Communications, Karwa ventured out on her own to merge her passion for writing and her experience, to establish The Word Jockey Creative Content Studio. As a content pioneer, she lives by the motto of ‘Content Is Queen’.
Here, she shares insights on her entry into the event industry, challenges, position of women in the industry, priorities at work, advice for young women entering the events sector and more.
HOW I CAME TO BE IN THE EVENT INDUSTRY
It's been a 20-year journey. After my PG in Advertising and Communications, I wanted to be in the creative field, so I did a diploma in Event Management to see what it is all about. About 20 years back, the event industry was not as organised, and we had very few event agencies. So, very few people had actually heard about it.
During my MBA, one of my classmates had met Deepak Pawar, so I went to meet him and he asked me to join. Later, I finished my MBA. What I had done in my MBA was very different from actually what I was going to do in the event company. I was learning celebrity management, talking about promotions; there was nothing strategic at that point in time. There was no brand planning, and no advertising theories being applied. But I found my niche as a concept planner, because I wanted to be in events, and I wanted to do something creative. So, a good mix of both was being into concepts.
But initially, it was very difficult because I was very new, and a lot of my ideas got rejected. My first stint in Midas was a good learning experience. Later, I got an opportunity in the events division of Ogilvy. Here, I learnt more about brand strategy and creative ideation, and later worked with MSL Group’s events department. So, my journey was from ad agency, to a PR agency with an events department. Then I wanted to be an independent entrepreneur. So I did independent consultancy for many event companies and slowly, I grew my business into event concepts and content creation. That's how The Word Jockey was born. And after almost a decade, it's now a partnership agency.
ON POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
Luckily, I think there are a lot of women in the event industry today. And they are the backbone of the event industry, if I may say so. Primarily, events on one side is the operation and production, which is highly male dominated, but I have so many friends who are also in the production side. But the other side of events, which is probably 60-70%, is the client servicing, creative, communication side and celebrity management. I'm not being gender-biased here, but women are made to be more creative, they're made to be softer in terms of communication. So, they fare better in servicing and planning. So women are heading event agencies and doing pretty well over here. A lot of women are into wedding planning. I don't think men had to make way or do anything special for women, they themselves are so talented, and they have this natural knack, that they have made a place for themselves. They have been self-reliant and self-going in this industry.
The only concern in this industry is the safety of women, because of the nature of work. So, if we can do something about this safety aspect, so that it does not stop people from coming into the industry.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THE EVENT INDUSTRY
People say content is king but I always believe that ‘Content is Queen’, because a lot of women have made their mark in the content industry. Women should know that they're like queens! Newcomers should work very hard and be passionate about the event industry. If you are a creative person, then hone your skills; whatever you do, just give your 110%. The industry can be stressful, but I'm sure women nowadays can handle that stress. Make sure that you have a lot of fun while you're at it too!
TALKING POINTS AT WORD JOCKEY
In content-related projects, every day is a creative delight for us. There is this project about the world's first tweet book by Dr Prachee Javadekar, wife of Union Minister Prakash Javadekar. She was very impressed by Anand Mahindra’s tweets, so she had this idea that she would analyse some tweets of Anand Mahindra, to encourage or inspire the next generation. Through a friend, we got this project, as they needed somebody to put it in an innovative way. It was launched on the day of Dussehra. For us, it was a moment of pride to be a part of this innovative tech-based content project.
Technology has taken over the world, especially after COVID, and the event industry is not far behind. At The Word Jockey, while we do a lot of event-related content, we also cater to a lot of brands and business start-ups and customise content for them.
WHAT I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO
Personally, we want The Word Jockey to be one of the key content agencies because not too many content agencies do integrated work. I had experience in integrated content, and my partner, Sapna Gupta is from the events background, but we have evolved into content, where we want to cater to a variety of clients, businesses and content format. We want to keep doing innovations every day, including tech-based innovations, so we are not just writers, we work on strategy as well.
So, we want to become the one-stop shop where brands can come to for content work. We're also trying to get into the space of training and content education for writers.
A HISTORICAL EVENT I WOULD LIKE TO WITNESS LIVE
When I was at NIEM, I had a two-month internship at the Ad Club where they were organizing the Goafest. We worked in the back-end to help organize this event. But unfortunately, on the morning of the event, I got the news that my grandfather had passed away. So, I missed the event. If I can go back in time, I wish to attend that event from morning.
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Payal Shah Karwa, The Word Jockey Content Studio, about her journey.